Zachary Lazar talks to Mary Jo Bang about her radical translation of Dante’s Inferno: in an attempt to render the shock Dante caused by writing in conversational Italian rather than the conventional Latin, Bang translated Dante’s text in modern-day English adorned with references to American pop culture. A sample of the text is available online.
According to a new biography of Richard Pryor, the legendary comedian kicked off his career as a teen in Peoria, Illinois, when he starred in a play based on Rumpelstiltskin and “broke the other kids up.” At The Nervous Breakdown, nine choice passages from the book.
Need something to complement our profile of Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie today? Then try this on for size: Year in Reading alum Emily Gould conducts an interview with the author at The Rumpus. Among other things, they talk about historical fiction, writing quickly and doing research on the Lower East Side.
“The day you follow me to that mound of oyster shells on the beach is the day I realize muscle and bone have been at war for a long, long time.” The Saturday Rumpus essay by Ashley Inguanta is tender and poetic. Some past iterations are also well-worth a revisit.
Amazon just announced a new program entitled Kindle MatchBook, “giv[ing] customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon.” MatchBook will include purchases made as far back as 1995, so you are officially out of excuses when it comes to cracking that lofty, intimidating TBR pile in your house.
At 3 Quarks Daily, Akeel Bilgrami’s essay on the pleasures of literature: “To understand what is special about literature is not to delegate the emotions to literature while retaining thought for philosophy and science. The idea is to find in the distinctly expressive function of literature, a refusal of that tired dualism.” (via Book Bench)
“Nigeria did fracture once, however, and it is this story that Chinua Achebe, a giant of African letters, tells. His memoir of the moment describes when the country, yoked together artificially by British colonizers, split apart at a cost of more than a million lives.” The New York Times Book Review on the writer’s There Was A Country.
Recommended Reading: Kate Sweeney explores the business of environmentally-minded deep sea burial, which is offered by companies such as Georgia’s Eternal Reefs.